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To Kill a Mockingbird
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September 2019: Cultural > To Kill a Mockingbird/Harper Lee/4.5 Stars

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Jamie Zaccaria | 211 comments A great book and understandably a classic. I do wonder if I had read this first as a kid would I feel more nostalgia or love for it? I know it's a good story but it does feel a bit too convenient for me with the flawless Atticus Finch not allowing for more realism.


Karin | 7014 comments Jamie wrote: "A great book and understandably a classic. I do wonder if I had read this first as a kid would I feel more nostalgia or love for it? I know it's a good story but it does feel a bit too convenient f..."

Bear in mind that his is Atticus Finch seen through the eyes of his adoring 8 year old daughter. If you'd like to see more realism in him, you'll see it in Go Set a Watchman which Harper Lee didn't allow to be published until she was very elderly.


annapi | 4983 comments Karin wrote: "Jamie wrote: "A great book and understandably a classic. I do wonder if I had read this first as a kid would I feel more nostalgia or love for it? I know it's a good story but it does feel a bit to..."

I don't think she allowed it to be published at all - or else she was coerced by her family when she was suffering from dementia, and some years before that she had a stroke. No proof of coercion, but it seems suspicious.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5231 comments I'm pretty sure I saw the movie first, so I did have a slightly blurry nostalgic view. I reread the book last year and I think I loved it even more. I'd have to agree that Atticus is idealized, but Scout was the real hero to me. The kids were critical of their dad, but in ways that I found funny (he can't throw a ball or beat someone in a fight).

I decided not to read Watchman because as Annapi said, I don't believe she intended it to be published. And I really don't want to tarnish my love for Mockingbird. When I think of those two books, I think of my own dad. I can see how it would possible to write two entirely truthful books about a parent, one that is flattering and one that is not. He died when my kids were young, and I was just starting to appreciate the difficulties of parenting.


message 5: by Karin (last edited Sep 13, 2019 06:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karin | 7014 comments annapi wrote: "Karin wrote: "Jamie wrote: "A great book and understandably a classic. I do wonder if I had read this first as a kid would I feel more nostalgia or love for it? I know it's a good story but it does..."

Yes, I think that may well be the case. She might not even have had dementia or Alzheimer's to be coerced. It's hard to say without being there ore proof.


message 6: by Jason (last edited Sep 14, 2019 09:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments I read both books. At the time I read Go Set a Watchman, it was believed or at least I believed, it was an unpublished sequel and I hated it. After learning that it was first draft, I appreciated the book so much more. I think Harper Lee struggled with right vs realism. Is someone who does the right thing because its right but still disagrees with right a hero?

I loved seeing the progression of the story telling process.


Karin | 7014 comments Jason wrote: "I read both books. At the time I read Go Set a Watchman, it was believed or at least I believed, it was an unpublished sequel and I hated it. After learning that it was first draft, I appreciated t..."

I also suspect that given the civil rights movement she wanted to make a strong statement, which To Kill a Mockingbird did well at the time it was published.


message 8: by Booknblues (last edited Sep 14, 2019 03:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Booknblues | 5785 comments As Jason said, Go Set a Watchman was written first and at that time Harper Lee did intend for it to be published.

She received smart advice for the time Go Set a Watchman was too honest and would not have been well received at the time and it needed editing.

Somebody believed in her and the story and she rewrote it to be To Kill a Mockingbird which was much more appealing to the public and much better written.

The truth behind it all is that while Atticus Finch believed in justice he was not without prejudice.

I suspect that Harper Lee came to believe that she did not want Go Set a Watchman published. Possibly because it would diminish To Kill a Mockingbird and possibly because it would diminish her father's memory as they are both pretty autobiographical.

I think both books deserve a read.


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